International traveling is incredibly exciting. Not only do you get to add another stamp to your passport, but you get to experience somewhere completely different and new. There are new foods, new sites and different people than what you’re used to.
Traveling abroad also presents some issues or unforeseen problems. There are language and cultural differences to get through and you want to do your best in making sure you don’t commit any faux pas. You are a guest in someone else’s country at the end of the day and you’d still like to be prepared.
Here are some tips that come in handy for your next big international adventure.
Download a Messaging App
Most people in the United States rely on text messages to communicate with people. They come with your wireless plan and they sure beat calling someone whenever you want to get something short across.
Across the world though, it’s quite the opposite. Many people use WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram or Google Hangouts to communicate. The best part about these messaging apps is that they rely 100% on the internet.
So if you’re needing to get into contact with someone, find a cafe or restaurant that has WiFi and contact them that way. You’ll save money instead of paying your home carrier to extend your service.
If you have to call a landline, buy $10 worth of Skype credit and load it on your phone. Skype credit never expires and it allows you to call just about any landline.
Update Your Maps
If you have a Google account, it may recognize through your emails that you’re going to a different location and offer to download maps of the area. Even though it may come off as a bit creepy, take Google up on its offer.
You may be in a place without cell phone coverage or WiFi but having the maps previously downloaded is a way to make sure you’re not (permanently) lost. Your phone’s location feature works even in airplane mode, so be sure to have those maps downloaded before heading out.
Put Alerts on Your Cards
You were already lucky enough to pay for your trip with points, so you should continue making sure you can actually use it. Before you go, make sure you get into contact with your card companies and advise them of your upcoming travels.
For some cards, it’s as easy as logging onto your account and adding a travel advisory. For others, they ask that you call them so you can set everything up. Be sure and take time out of your day ASAP so you’re free from calling customer service when you could be laying on the beach instead.
Set Up a VPN
A VPN is a virtual private network that people use for two main benefits: adding security to their personal network and letting them use their Netflix account from anywhere in the world.
Troypoint are the perfect people to help guide you and show all the benefits and wonders of having a VPN. The movie list on the planes isn’t always up to snuff, so be sure and download your own favorite series and movies before you head out. It’s a great way to relax after a long day!
Learn Some of the Local Language
Even though English is the tourist language of the world, it always helps to learn a few local phrases before you embark. You can just learn the greetings, basic questions and the names of some foods.
You don’t have to be a polyglot before you board the plane, but learning a few local phrases and words goes a long way. People are often kinder and more generous when they see that you’ve made an effort to learn something about their culture and history.
Make Copies of All Documents
Before you go, you’ll want to make copies of all documents you can. That includes credit cards, debit cards, driver’s license and most importantly, your passport. If you lose your passport, you’ll have to make a trip to the U.S. consulate or embassy to get it all straightened out.
One of the easiest ways for government officials to help you out is to have a copy of your passport available so they can find your information easier. Also, don’t forget to alert your credit card companies that your cards may have been compromised. It’s going to be a headache to get everything back in order, but at least you can take steps to make it easier on yourself.